NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The courts-martial of two U.S. Navy commandoes on charges they failed to safeguard a suspected Iraqi terrorist will held in Iraq, a military judge says.
The Navy judge, Cmdr. Tierney Carlos, ruled Monday the accused commandos, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe and Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas, deserve to be able to face their accuser, alleged terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed. But since military officials won't allow Abed to come to the Norfolk Naval Station, the courts-martial will be held at Camp Victory in Iraq, The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot reported.
The newspaper said Keefe and Huertas are both charged with dereliction of duty for not protecting Abed after he was captured last year in Fallujah. Military officials contend Abed is connected to the 2004 slayings of four Blackwater contractors whose bodies were hung from a bridge.
Abed claims he was punched by a Navy SEAL, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, after his capture while Keefe and Huertas looked on.
The Virginian-Pilot said McCabe, who is also facing a court martial, was scheduled for a Wednesday hearing before a different military judge at the Norfolk base.